Focus Story

Technological and environmental lead: two directions for the future

In the past, Autogrill Group restyled its stores according to specific fundamental principles: attention to the environment, protection of natural resources and waste control.

In Italy there are some excellence cases: the entire green store of Mensa di Ravenna, certified as Energy Class A; the two stores of Viverone Est and Viverone Ovest (on the A5 highway connecting Ivrea to Santhià), both equipped with geothermal plants, a solution that cuts energy consumption by 30%. In the Dorno, Brembo and Brianza Sud stores, natural gas fired trigeneration plants have been installed for the cogeneration of thermal and refrigeration energy. In the Dorno store, a meter has also been installed to monitor CO2 emissions and measure the performance of the cogeneration plant.

In addition, the growing use of next generation technology has led to having over 150 stores equipped with a centralized remote energy management system (connected to equipment and plants), which also permits the additional improvement and regulation of consumption through corrective actions. For instance, the Brembo store (on the A4 Milan–Bergamo highway) features an air ventilation system that achieves high levels of energy efficiency. Lastly, the majority of the stores in Italy currently utilize methane-fired equipment.

A novelty in 2011 was the opening of the Montefeltro Ovest store, in proximity to Riccione. The store has an entirely new environmental look. The store is classified in Energy Class B and the outside of the structure is a single block in red beehive polycarbonate, which makes the external surface uniformly colored with a LED system illuminating it at night. This horizontal construction is surrounded by a flat area and has a very low impact despite being strongly characterized. The materials used were selected based on the relevant specific technical features, while priority was given to dry and light construction systems to make the building sustainable and considerably reduce execution time. The entire project optimized the investment per square meter without neglecting any formal aspect to support its design. Specifically, the air exchange management system was optimized, which concentrates 75% of the total dispersion. Massive interventions were avoided on the outside in favor of the preservation and enhancement of the architectural structure.

In Europe, the new store opened within the premises of the Schiphol airport features a totally green design, which perfectly matches the wide range of organic products and fair trade products offered. The Fair Taste Café was developed by using recycled materials derived from adjacent areas: the walls, the platforms and the tiles are made out of recycled wood, pallets and excavation material.

HMSHost aligned itself with the U S Green Building Strategic Plan 2009–2013, whose purpose is to disseminate the design and development of sustainable buildings, thus responding to the growing demand for “green buildings”. Following this orientation, in the summer of 2011 the Delaware Welcome Center celebrated its first anniversary after the re-opening of June 2010. In one year it registered more than 5 million visitors. HMSHost completed this project utilizing top notch technology, making the building an example of environmental sustainability.

The Delaware Welcome Center, which extends over a surface area of 4,000 square meters, was designed, built and certified in accordance with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles and is now the new Tourist Office for the distribution of information on events and activities in progress in the state of Delaware. HMSHost was committed to recycling and re-using 75% of the material derived from the demolition of the preceding building, thus avoiding its being brought to a landfill. The new store is characterized by the optimization of the external natural light, thus reducing the use of artificial light and, consequently, cutting energy consumption. Moreover, in order to better insulate the building, the roof was constructed with highly reflecting material to refract heat in the summer, while the walls are highly insulating to avoid heat dispersion in winter time.

With regard to air ventilation, a geothermal plant has been installed, exploiting the temperature of the subsoil (more or less steady and comfortable throughout the year) instead of electricity. 60 geothermal wells were installed, which feed 37 pumps distributed in the building. The Delaware Welcome Center also employs the best technology to manage water consumption, which results in large quantities of water saved during the year. Another important initiative is the project dedicated to truck drivers, key customers for HMSHost, designed in collaboration with CabAire (a company supplying electronic components for trucks). In the parking area of the infrastructure, 50 stations supplying electricity for trucks (which stop here for the night) were installed, to feed air conditioning, supply energy and permit web navigation with minimum drain on the engine, thus realizing considerable savings on fuel, while reducing noise and emissions into the atmosphere along this highly trafficked stretch of highway. In addition to these solutions, the Delaware Welcome Center also features stations for recharging electric vehicles: another step towards the future.